Dragon Crystal

Dragon Crystal came out in 1990 – 1991 for the Sega Master System and the Game Gear.  Much like Fatal Labyrinth, it’s a randomized rougelike rpg with a very luck based progression through the game.  On some runs, you may get amazing luck, and on others you literally had no chance of winning from the beginning.

The start of this run was in a field of flowers. The yellow object behind the hero is an egg. As the game goes on, the egg hatches into a dragon.

Here’s a random run through the game.  Shortly after starting this run, the hero found a long sword, and some armor.  This was followed by some potions (not enough to use identify) and a few scrolls.  All items in the game are randomized.  Armor has a chance of being cursed, potions change what the colors represent, and so on.

Enemies in the early game appear in rooms like this one shown here. You have ones that split, ones that shoot out projectiles, and ones that make status effects.

The blooming flowers represent areas that were “seen” by the hero.  The exit is a tile, sometimes on a side path and sometimes in a room, so it is good to have the flowers bloom on the edge of all rooms.  Unfortunately, I tried on a ring that turned out to be a cursed hunger ring. Without a bless scroll, it couldn’t be removed.

There's a good range of tile sets in the game and it's pretty easy to tell where the hero has "been" in the game.

Thanks to the HP drain from a lack of food, and the stronger enemies, the hero died after teleporting up and down floors and finding some interesting magical rods.  You can continue if you have sufficent gold, but the required amount goes up as you progress in the game.

Death provides an image of the tiles on the floor in question. You see the enemy name (Phantom), your level, your title (Fighter), and your amount of gold.

All in all, the game is a curiousity.  If the randomizer is kind, you can progress pretty easily.  If it isn’t, it can become incredibly frustrating.  Once you’ve seen what the game has to show, the inability to save and the speed at which you can die becomes more annoying than fun.  Text based roguelikes are similarly rough for deaths, but they also tend to offer more depth and strategies compared to games like this.

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